Salt Lake City – A new study conducted on the super-volcano at Yellowstone has revealed that it has a second magma chamber and it is 4.4 times larger than the first one. The chamber has been found to have a depth of 12-28 miles.
The reservoir has been estimated to contain enough magma to fill the 1000 cubic-mile Grand Canyon, 11.2 times. The magma from the previous chamber could fill it only 2.5 times.
Hsin-Hua Huang, the lead researcher from the University of Utah said, “For the first time we have imaged the continuous volcanic, plumbing system under Yellowstone. That includes an upper crustal magma chamber we have seen previously and a lower magma reservoir that has never been imaged before. It connects the upper chamber to the Yellowstone hotspot plume below.”
Contrary to the popular belief that magma is all hot molten rock, they are usually sponged shaped solids, with pockets of molten rock. Usually, 9% of the molten rock stays in the upper portion while 2% stays in the lower one. The research was published in Science Journal this week, where they clarified that the new findings do not mean it will erupt soon.
The Yellowstone super-volcano is expected to erupt in the coming centuries, and the added magma chamber means that the eruption would be devastating. However, the USGS believes that the time for the eruption is purely statistical and is not very significant.
The USGS, however, did clarify that a series of recent earthquakes, coupled with a 2 million year history of emissions, means an eruption is bound to happen.
Whenever it happens, the eruption would be more massive than any we have seen in the last 200 years. The USGS predicts that it would affect global weather patterns, resulting in a complete change of life on earth.
However, the eruption need not be necessarily in the form of magma coming out. It could just be a hydrothermal eruption, from streams of hot water. It would still result in an explosion of shallow craters, but the after effects would be less devastating.